12th SAG: 'Dog Shed' used as MPC; Journalists have tough day in Shillong

Shillong: Chaos reigned supreme even before the ball had started rolling at the 12th South Asian Games with the organisers setting up the 'Main Press Centre' (MPC) at a place which was earlier being used as a 'dog shed'.

Sniffer dogs in the morning shooed away the media contingent from the MPC, which was arranged in a makeshift tent in an open ground of the archery practice venue, as the scribes badly struggled before organisers restored some parity.

As far as work stations (computers) were concerned, the Shillong MPC catering to eight disciplines of the 12th edition of the multi-discipline Games also co-hosted by Guwahati, could accommodate a handful of four terminals.

Working at the MPC late into the evening would not only mean to tread carefully on the uneven ground surface but also to brave the chilly winds in an open ground in sub-10 degree celcius temperature.

The event website is still not functioning properly with the local officials ready to pass the buck on the main organising committee.

As a matter of fact, Shillong leg competitions began with archery and football events while draws were conducted for badminton and table tennis beginning tomorrow.

"We're working on it and trying our best to help you out in best possible way we can," any volunteer would tell you with a calming reassurance.

Later addressing a news conference, joint CEO Shillong organising committee of SAG, Fedrick Kharkongor said they would look into all the issues and solve it.

"As you all know this is first time experience for us, so there would be teething problems... Please bear us for a day and we will take care of everything," the gentleman, who is also the commissioner secretary of sports and youth affairs, added.

Asked about the poor facility at MPC, Kharkongor said they would resolve all the issues in an urgent manner. He also cleared the air about the controversy at badminton venue saying everything was in order.

The badminton venue at SAI campus in NEHU came under spotlight after reports came about its unpreparedness in infrastructure as Meghalaya state threatened to pull out if badminton is not hosted as was decided earlier.

A team from former champion Pullela Gopichand was sent and did a fresh inspection as it was later cleared.

"The issue was with the practice warm up area as it was concrete but we've upgraded it with synthetic matting. The venue has successfully hosted test events and the issue was solved effectively."

He further said the ticket response for badminton was even better than that for the opening ceremony in Guwahati today.

"All tickets were sold out within minutes for badminton it was so overwhelming. It's a very popular sport in the region," Kharkongor said.

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